President Joe Biden on Thursday touted new mask guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as “a great day for America” and an important milestone in the US coronavirus response.
Appearing maskless during remarks in the White House Rose Garden, Biden said, “You have endured all this. When your country asked you to get vaccinated, you did. The American people stepped up. You did what I consider to be your patriotic duty. That’s how we have gotten to this day.”
His comments came hours after the CDC announced that people who are fully vaccinated against Covid-19 do not need to wear masks or practice social distancing indoors or outdoors, except under certain circumstances.
In a sign of the Biden administration’s embrace of the guidance, the White House emailed staffers Thursday telling them they no longer have to wear a mask on the complex’s grounds if they are vaccinated, an official told CNN.
Calling it an “exciting and powerful moment,” Walensky said the science supports the updated CDC guidance that “anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities — large or small — without wearing a mask or physical distancing.”
Officials had not expected the CDC to release new masking guidance for at least several more days, and also did not anticipate how far-reaching the guidance would be, given the CDC’s cautious track record.
But that is exactly how the White House wants these situations to be handled, after Biden came into office vowing to restore the CDC’s independence.